Metro

State grant program helps communities recycle mattresses

More than 50,000 old mattresses and box springs have been recycled throughout Massachusetts under a state grant program since it began two years ago, the state said recently. Here is a look at the program.

Why was the program established?

Residents and businesses around the state toss out many mattresses and box springs each year. So the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection wanted to make mattress recycling more widely available and cost-effective. In 2016, the agency initiated the Mattress Recycling Incentive program. The grant program provided more than $995,000 for 43 municipalities to help them collect, transport, and recycle the items, with the goal of keeping them out of overflowing landfills and incinerators and reducing disposal costs.

How does it work?

The program pays for up to two years of transportation and recycling costs through one of the three state-contracted mattress recycling companies: Raw Material Recovery Corp. in Gardner, United Teen Equality Center in Lowell, and Ace Mattress Recycling in West Warwick, R.I.

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The grant also reimbursed municipalities $130,000 for the cost of the collection container recipients use, which communities can keep after the grant runs out, the statement said.

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Materials like wood, metal, foam, and fabric make about 85 percent of each mattress and box spring recyclable, the DEP said. New products can be made from the recycled materials, including carpet padding, particle board, and industrial filters.

Which cities and towns have benefited?

Amherst, Chicopee, Fall River, Marblehead, Worcester, and Yarmouth are among the municipalities taking part.

“Participation in our mattress recycling program has increased since we applied for the program,” Charles Tyler of the Sherborn Recycling Committee said in the statement. “The MRI program allowed us to accept mattresses for free and it’s developed into a wonderful program and relationship with our recycler. There’s no way we would discontinue this program when the grant ends; we’ll definitely keep recycling mattresses.”

The statement said the Baker-Polito administration is offering an additional $653,294 in grants to help pay for the recycling of mattresses and box springs in 21 additional municipalities

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The next grant cycle will open in April.

Katie Camero can be reached at katie.camero@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @camerokt_